For more than 15 years, Liz Culver contributed her time and effort as the PNGA's Ladies' Advisory Chairwoman to the PNGA Board of Directors. While performing this important volunteer function, she also competed in several association championships. So it's fair to say that when Liz won the 1978 PNGA Women's Amateur title, she deserved it. In the final, Culver and Laurie Campbell of Rainier Golf & Country Club in Seattle battled it out for 31 holes over the hilly, Arthur V. Macan-designed Fircrest Golf Club in Tacoma. Culver, of Overlake Golf & Country Club, managed to never trail the University of Washington sophomore in winning by a 5 & 4 margin.
The field for the 1978 championship was small in numbers, with only 63 entrants, but large in quality. Edean Ihlanfeldt, Pat Harbottle and Linda Fuller, the reigning Washington State Women's Golf Association champion, were among the entries. With such a strong field, it was indeed a sweet victory for Liz. Kim Eaton, a student at the University of New Mexico, earned medalist honors after shooting 77-74, 151.
An indication that perhaps a new women's event was necessary was shown by the field's large contingent of women over the age of 50. With more than half the field in this age group, some began to talk about the need for a PNGA Senior Women's event.
In the 1988 PNGA Women's Amateur Championship, 18-year-old Stephanie Davis of Bainbridge Island, Washington, triumphed over Culver at Shadow Hills Country Club in Junction City, Oregon. Culver recorded some fine come-from-behind victories to reach the final, including a 1-up conquest of Pat Harrop-Schumacher of Sequim, Washington, and a 19th hole edging of Seattle's Mimi Raciot. In the final, Culver fought putting woes and never mounted a charge against the young Davis. The surprisingly one-sided match ended 9 & 8.
Launching a New PNGA ChampionshipIn 1986, the PNGA's Championship Committee followed a reasoning similar to the one it used in 1985, when the Men's Mid-Amateur event was introduced. It was clearly evident there was a need for a women's senior event. In all aspects of development and execution, the inaugural Pacific Northwest senior Women's Amateur exceeded Championship Committee expectations.
A full field of 144 "over-50" shotmakers entered the 1986 event for 36 holes of quality competition at Everett Golf & Country Club. As expected, all eyes were on perennial Northwest champion, Edean Ihlandfeldt, and her conspicuous two handicap. However, it was former PNGA Ladies' Division Chairperson, Nita Kirrage of Oakbrook Golf & Country Club in Tacoma, who stole the show with an opening round 79. Ihlandfeldt was within striking distance after a solid 81. On the second day, Kirrage faded with an 87 while Edean shot a 79 to win the inaugural PNGA Senior Women's Amateur title.
Ihlanfeldt went on to win the first three Senior Women's titles. In 1989 at Uplands Golf Club in Victoria, Culver broke Ihlanfeldt's grip on the senior crown after posting scores of 76 and 81. Two strokes back was Dorothy Wilkes of Victoria's Gorge Vale Golf Club.
Liz Culver's year in 1989 ended with her being inducted into the Pacific Northwest Golf Hall of Fame during a ceremony at Canterwood Golf & Country Club in Gig Harbor, Washington. Introduced by long-time friend and fellow PNGA volunteer, Judy Thompson, Culver accepted a plaque honoring her contributions to golf as a competitor and volunteer. As a long-time PNGA Ladies' Advisory Committee Chairwoman (1968-1983) Culver was instrumental in establishing the PNGA Women's Division in 1984. She also served on many championship committees for the USGA and various Northwest golf associations. A testament to Liz's dedication to the PNGA and her longevity as a fine player is her participation in every PNGA Women's Amateur Championship from 1960 through 1998, with the exception of one year. In 1984 she was unable to compete due to some health problems. Nevertheless, she had a remarkable record for a remarkable woman who left an indelible mark on the PNGA and women's golf in the Northwest.